Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) and BAE Systems are collaborating on the development of the PHASA-35 high-altitude pseudo-satellite (HAPS) system.
"We have an agreement with BAE Systems to make this a completely Saudi indigenous programme," SAMI CEO Andreas Schwer told Jane's on 19 November.
SAMI is currently in the process of defining when and how the programme could be launched prior to formally proceeding with a decision on the system, with both technical and customer requirements being worked on ahead of a potential launch. The concept is expected to be finalised over the next year, at which point the business case will be frozen ahead of a potential procurement.
"If the customer base by that point is solid, we will start with it," Schwer said. He went on to add that the technology could mean that it is a case where Saudi Arabia could "instantly" become an aircraft or platform original equipment manufacturer (OEM) for a significantly cutting-edge technology.
Want to read more? For analysis on this article and access to all our insight content, please enquire about our subscription options at ihsmarkit.com/janes